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native state and completed her intellectual training at York Seminary and the Nebraska State University at Lincoln. She was the youngest in a family of twelve children born to R. and Mary (Bacon) Hatch, the former of whom was a native of Massachusetts where he was prominent in business and the law and served as judge of the Probate Court. He died in Massachusetts and was laid to rest near his Puritan ancestors. The mother of Mrs. Romine came to York, Nebraska, where a son was engaged in the coal business, moving later to the home of a brother, J. D. Bacon, who was a broker at Chadron for many years, and she died here in 1907. Mrs. Romine's only surviving sister, Mrs. Hebbard, resides in California. This sister was the first teacher at Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Her husband was the first land commissioner at Seward, Nebraska, and was president of the first Nebraska State Fair, which he was instrumental in organizing. Other members of the family have been very prominent in state affairs in many directions. A brother of Mrs. Romine established the Citizens Bank at Leigh, Nebraska, which was the family home for a time. A cousin was an early president of the B. & M. railroad and probably did more for the development of Lincoln than any other man, while an uncle, George Harris, was one of the first land commissioners in the state.
On June 1, 1887, Miss Hatch was united in marriage to James S. Romine, a dentist by profession. They moved on Mrs. Romine's homestead situated four miles from Gordon, in Sheridan county, their first house being superior to many others in the county, as it was of frame, but it had an earthen floor and is described as being so full of open spaces that a cat might have been thrown through at any time. Mrs. Romine had some valuable pieces of old furniture and still owns them, prizing them highly as she has every reason so to do, hut there was great lack of the ordinary conveniences of housekeeping and the homestead was many miles distant from any source of supply. Pioneer resourcefulness came to the front, however, and when the family cook stove could not be adjusted to the chimney because of a lack of stove pipe, the difficulty was overcome by setting the stove on the table. In early days they suffered great inconvenience from an insufficiency of water, which had to be carried a long distance or bought from those who made a business of selling it.
When Dr. Romine located his timber claim he had to drive to Valentine and at that time there was not a single house between the homestead and Hunter's ranch. At first they kept on adding to their property until they had several thousand acres, but hard times fell on the settlers of Sheridan county, from different causes, and they sold one tract of land after another at a great loss, some of which adjoined Gordon and at the present time commands a high price. In 1890, they came to Chadron and invested here and now own large holdings in this section and have property interests also at Danville, Illinois. During the early years after marriage and for some time afterward, Dr. Romine practiced his profession in neighboring towns. He belongs to the Odd Fellows and organized the first Modern Woodmen of America lodge in the state of Nebraska.
Mrs. Romine has a wide acquaintance with people of prominence and has pleasant recollections of former Governor Dawes, for whom the county is named, as he at one time resided in the home of her aunt at Lincoln. She has taken a very decided stand in Republican politics and assisted in bringing about suffrage legislation in Nebraska. She established the first Literary Club at York and later the first at Chadron and has been an inspiring influence in both and in such other organizations As the Chadron Culture Club, the Woman's Club both of the city and the Sixth District and has been president of all these bodies. She is a member of the Republican Women's committee and a director of the Home Service work at Chadron and is past noble grand in the order of Rebekah's. Many of the citizens of Chadron who enjoy the grateful shade of some of its streets, may not know that a large number of there beautiful trees were set out by Mr. and Mrs. Romine, both of whom are lovers of Nature. Her first flower garden aroused interest and admiration as did the well kept lawn about her home. She is held in esteem and affection by those with whom and for whom she has labored so long.
WILLIAM H. WILLIS, one of the representative business men of Bridgeport, and a large property owner, takes an active and public spirited part in the civic and community life of Bridgeport. He was born at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1873, being a son of John G. Willis, extended mention of whom will be found in this work.
William H. Willis attended the public schools at Omaha, the military school at Faribault, Minnesota, and the Omaha Commercial College, Omaha, these laying an excellent foundation upon which his later commercial
career has been built. After finishing his education, Mr. Willis engaged in the real estate business at Omaha, operating there for five years with the Willis Land Company. In 1899 he came to Morrill county, bought a ranch and established himself in the live-stock business. Later he took up a homestead, continued to buy land until he had a fine estate and lived on his ranch for eight years. Mr. Willis was then appointed purchasing agent for the government which necessitated his moving into Bridgeport to live. After retiring from government service eighteen months later, he embarked in the farm implement and automobile business. Shortly afterward he purchased an excellent business site, tore down the dilapidated building and erected another which gives him floor space of 6,000 square feet and has a business structure modern in every particular. He has ample room in which to display the Studebaker and Oakland cars, for which he is agent, and does a general implement and automobile business. Mr. Willis owns a large amount of city realty and also holds property at Bayard and other places in the county. In large measure Mr. Willis is a self made man, his ample fortune having been built up through his own business enterprise and he can congratulate himself with pardonable pride upon the comfortable fortune of which he has been both architect and builder.
In 1900 Mr. Willis was married to Miss Eva J. Young, who was born at Springfield, Ohio, and they have one daughter, Laura C., who is making rapid progress at school. Mr. and Mrs. Willis are members of the Episcopal church. A sound Republican all his political life, he has been somewhat prominent in the county organization, and at Bridgeport has served on the town council and as city clerk. He is a Scottish Rite Mason and also an Odd Fellow. Utilizing his early military training, Mr. Willis was the prime mover in organizing the Home Guards, a military company that reflects credit on Bridgeport, of which Mr. Willis is captain. During the World war he was generous with his time, labor, money and influence to aid the government to "carry on" and with our Allies make the world a safer place for the coming generations.
FRED J. HOUGHTON. -- In the material upbuilding of Chadron and the substantial development of this part of Dawes county, no present resident deserves more credit than Fred J. Houghton, who continues to be a representative citizen. Judge Houghton came to Chadron when it was a village of tents and unsightly shacks, invested in land and erected the first comfortable dwelling house in the block in which he still lives. With practical ideas, he entered wholeheartedly into the business of development of this section, and for thirty-five years has been a prominent and useful factor.
Fred J. Houghton was born at Woodhull, Henry county, Illinois, July 23, 1853, the eldest of the three survivors of a family of eight children born to Calvin C. and Lucy E. (Johnson) Houghton. Judge Houghton has one brother, Hugh, who is a resident of Hot Springs, South Dakota, and one sister, Mrs. Winnifred L. Oliver, who lives at Packwood, Jefferson county, Iowa.
The parents of Judge Houghton were natives of Chester, Vermont, where his father was born in 1816, and his mother in 1824. The father survived until 1874, while the mother lived to the advanced age of ninety-four years. In many ways the father was a remarkable man, possessing business ability of a high order and a spirit of enterprise that made him prominent and useful as a pioneer in Illinois, to which state he went in 1848. He drove the whole distance and sold goods along the way, and when he reached Henry county, Illinois, had capital with which to take up a large amount of government land. A man of sturdy principles, throughout life he maintained his views in relation to slavery, assisted in the operation of the underground railroad to assist slaves escaping to Canada, and when the Civil war came on, although not able to serve in the ranks, was a liberal contributor to the cause. The land acquired so long ago in Illinois, is still in the possession of the family. Following the close of the war, he engaged extensively in raising of cattle, horses and mules.
Fred J. Houghton attended the country schools and then entered Knox College, at Galesburg, but did not complete his college course because his assistance was required on the farm, and when only fifteen years old, Mr. Houghton had the oversight of from fifteen to wenty (sic) men. He remained in his native state until he became convinced that many business opportunities could be found in the great west, and being particularly interested in Nebraska, came to the little railroad hamlet of Chadron, September 13, 1885. He found here other men of enterprise and vision, and alone and in co-operation with them, soon put the aspiring little city on a sound business basis and has remained here ever since. He opened a real estate office, subsequently adding a general line of insurance, and has handled many thousands
of dollars and has opened the way to a large amount of the outside capital that has been helpful in building up many important business concerns here.
It must not be supposed that the early settlers in frontier towns, especially with the type that came to Chadron, were so given over to sordid business that amusements did not appeal to them, and in reminiscent mood, Judge Houghton has been heard to declare that the Fourth of July celebration at Chadron, in 1886, was one of the most interesting he ever attended. The Indians in this section of the country were numerous and in the main friendly, and it was to the interest of the white settlers that they should remain so. Responding to an invitation to come to Chadron and have a good time, they came about fifteen hundred strong, and Mr. Houghton was one who sat in the circle with them and smoked the pipe of peace. The town gave them a whole beeve for food, and they assisted in the entertainment with their exhibition of dancing, foot and horse racing, fancy roping, and even the Indian children showed their expertness with bow and arrow.
At Fairfield, Iowa, on September 8, 1879, Mr. Houghton was united in marriage to Miss Margaret R. Berm, who died August 9, 1898. Her parents were Alexander P. and Phebe (Couger) Berm, residents of Iowa but natives of Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively. Three children were born to this marriage, as follows: Inez M., who died April 20, 1920; Hugh Manly, who was accidently (sic) killed in the railroad yards at Chadron, and a babe that died unnamed.
After locating at Chadron Mr. Houghton soon recognized the advisability of acquiring a knowledge of law, therefore applied himself to its study in the office of E. S. Ricker, and in 1889, was admitted to the bar. While he has found it helpful in his business, he has never engaged in the practice of his profession, although his knowledge has contributed much to the soundness of his opinions in his many years of official life. A Republican in politics, on that ticket he was elected in early days city attorney and served several terms, afterward was city clerk for seven successive years, following which he was police judge for a long period, and subsequently, as long as he consented to serve, was a justice of the peace. He has always been actuated by patriotic motives and has never failed in his devotion to the welfare of Chadron. He and daughter were members of the Episcopal Church.
CHADRON STATE BANK. -- For the large volume of business transacted at Chadron, Nebraska, to be adequately taken care of here has arisen an urgent demand for sound, safe, ably directed banking institutions and it was in answer to this demand that the Chadron State Bank was organized. This business was incorporated October 1, 1915,. and the bank opened for business on January 8, 1916.
The first bank officials were the following: H. A. Copley, of Alliance, president; Ray Tierney, vice president; E. K. Reikman, cashier, and C. A. Drews, assistant cashier. The present officers are: Ray Tierney, president; R. L. Isham, vice president; C. A. Drews, cashier.
The bank structure is one of the most impressive in the city, handsome and dignified in design. It is situated on the northwest corner of Main and Second streets, is constructed of white brick with terra cotta and marble inside finish, and is equipped with handsome fittings and most modern protective bank devices. A strictly banking business is carried on, present deposits are $500,000, careful, conservative methods are in force and all the officials are sound, reliable, representative business men.
CHARLES U. COOPER, stock raiser and well known general farmer of Garden county who is essentially a self-made man as he began in the Panhandle with nothing and today is a prosperous man, is a native son of Nebraska, born in Lancaster county October 9, 1864, the son of Ephriam and Theda (Hitchcock) Cooper, the former a native of Pennsylvania, while the mother was born in Ohio. The father was a carpenter by trade who came to this state and settled in Richardson county in 1889; from there he moved to. Lancaster county and later to Keith county in 1884. The mother died in Lancaster county in 1882, and the father in Denver in 1916. They were the parents of six children of whom four survive but Charles is the only one in this locality, Mr. Cooper was a Republican; was judge of Keith county four years and a prominent man. He belonged to the Congregational Church while his wife was a member of the Baptist denomination.
Charles Cooper was educated in the public schools of Lancaster county and started in life independently when seventeen years of age as a farmer. Wishing land of his own he came to Garden county in 1885, took up the homestead where he still lives and engaged in farming.
November 4, 1896, Mr. Cooper married
Miss Libbie Bundy at Lewellen; she was the daughter of Charles and Mary (Stubbs) Bundy, the father being a resident of Keith county, the mother is deceased. Eight children have been born to this union: Theda, the wife of Ben Grasy, of Garden county; Ina, the wife of Ray Southard, of Deuel county; Clara, deceased; Ephriam, Myrtle, Carl, and Ida, all at home, and Mary, deceased.
When Mr. Cooper came here he drove across the country from Lancaster county; had many experiences of frontier travel as he was stuck in an alkali hole; had to pay fifteen cents a pail for water for his horses and found few roads any good. The first house was the usual "soddy" and as he did not know just how to build it the wind partly blew it down while he was away from home but neighbors helped repair it and he later rebuilt. At first water had to be hauled eighteen miles but later Mr. Cooper built a well and the nearby settlers came to him for water. The first summer he went north into the hills to hunt buffalo bones for money to buy supplies. Money was scarce and hard to get and Mr. Cooper at one time was in debt but managed to get out and today is one of the prosperous men of his locality for he believed in the future of this section, remained and has been well rewarded for today he owns nearly five hundred acres of good land for which he would not take a hundred dollars an acre, having raised as high as fifty dollars worth of wheat an acre. For some years he bred Jersey cattle but lately has given more attention to general farming which he finds is more profitable. He has fine, well equipped farm buildings; uses modern machinery and is a progressive business man. In politics Mr. Cooper is a Democrat; he has served as road overseer two terms; is a member, stock holder and director in the Farmers Cooperative League at Lewellen, and a public spirited man who advocated progress in his district.
WILLIAM G. HATTERMAN, one of the prosperous farmers of the Big Springs district, is a native born son of York county, this state, born December 2, 1880, the son of Anton and Minnie Hatterman, who came to Deuel county when the boy was only six months old. William lived at home, attended the public schools for his education and though the Oregon Trail had been abandoned when his family came here he recalls finding log chains, parts of oxen yokes, Indian beads, arrows and other relics of the early days. The wind and weather had not then destroyed the deeply rutted tracks of the trail. After leaving home Mr. Hatterman worked on farms near Lexington four years and then went to Cherry county where he found employment on the ranches. February 16, 1905, he married at Day Post Office, Miss Martha Sonnenberg, the daughter of Henry P. and Caroline, (Lewine) Sonnenberg, natives of Germany who came to Deuel county in the late 80's where they farmed but now live near Sterling, Colorado. Three children have been born to this union; Joseph, Roy, and Vera, all at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Hatterman live on the homestead on which Mrs. Hatterman filed and proved up. She made the thirteenth person to file on this same piece of land, all the others failed to prove up, grew discouraged and gave up. Conditions were very discouraging in the early days for there had been droughts; there was no work to be obtained as many men were trying to get jobs; then a few years came with good crops followed by the poor years of the early 90's, but the Hattermans retained their land and today it is worth nearly a hundred dollars an acre. The change in weather conditions, the general raise in land values and the improvements on the farm have placed them in easy circumstances. Today Mr. and Mrs. Hatterman own and operate three hundred and twenty acres of land; for many years they raised cattle but of late have devoted more attention to scientific farming, using the latest machinery and modern methods. Today Mr. Hatterman has only well bred Hereford cattle and Red Jersey hogs. Since his marriage he says that he and his wife had few of the hardships to contend with of the early days. They then had to go for water from a mile and a half to six miles and this continued eighteen years as there was only one well in the vicinity, W. W. Waterman's and a spring at Ash Hollow. Mrs. Hatterman's family lived in Gage county but decided to come west and take up a homestead, locating in Lincoln county. They made the trip in true pioneer style, driving across country in the spring of 1890, using two cows to draw their wagon with two yearling calves on leads. The cows were hitched with the usual yoke for oxen. On reaching the homestead near Maxwell, the family was practically out of money and breaking the sod was slow work, only a little being put under cultivation each year. As a result they suffered privations as crops were poor some years. Finally the father secured horses to work and then farming became easier. When they drove through to Deuel county horses were used and the family lived on the land
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